Is eLearning Better than Face-to-Face Learning?
So is eLearning better than face-to-face learning? You’d be forgiven for saying that health and safety eLearning is rubbish and face to face health and safety training is definitely fast or better. And you know what? My entire career, I have completely agreed with that. I think I have only booked eLearning once. And yet recently I started to realise that face to face training really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be either.
Sometimes eLearning might actually be a better option.
So here’s a rundown of some of the problems that can go wrong with face to face learning:
1. Poor trainer. Trainers vary in quality enormously.
I have hired some excellent trainers and I’ve booked courses from some of the big course providers, and sometimes they’ve sent me a contractor or an associate that I didn’t know and they did a pretty terrible job.
One time we booked a trainer to do some board of director training. It was a couple of hours and the trainer that turned up manage to set our culture back ten years and switched off all the directors.
2. Too much to take in in two little time.
Health and safety training is as much about building habits and changing behaviours as it is about giving people information. First of all, in a 3 day course, there’s just too much to take in in such little time. So it all goes by in a bit of a blur. Face to face training gives information, but it doesn’t really teach people habits and behaviours and so on. So that’s one reason why it doesn’t work.
3. Classroom trainers often teach people only how to pass the exam.
You’ll get this on all the accredited courses: “you need to know this for the test”, “you need to know that for the test”.
So what they’re actually saying is that we can skip over this really important bit because it’s not in the test. But might be important for you when you do your job, but it’s not in the test. So we’re not going to go over there. That happens a lot more than you think.
So people might come out of the course knowing everything they need to know to pass the exam. But the rest of the course has just been skimmed over and hasn’t received the same emphasis as the rest.
4. Tutors often teach to the lowest common denominator.
If you’ve got people who have poor communication or listening skills, low IQ academically, or not just as quick as some of the other people, it means that they’ll teach to the level of that person.
And for the others that are on the course that are a bit faster, a bit more clued up, a bit more intelligent that can take it in a bit quicker, they’re going to get really frustrated. They’re going to feel that it’s dumbed down and they’re not going to get everything they can get out of the course.
5. Group interaction.
People often tell me that classroom training has more interaction, therefore it must be better. Well, I can tell you this, the interaction can be negative. Sometimes you can get negative people who try to hijack the course. People who start to heckle the trainer and so on.
So the interaction can be negative. And sometimes there is no group interaction. The trainer may not work hard at bringing people out of their shell. You might find that they are only 1, 2 or maybe 3 people on the whole course who do the interaction, and everyone else just sit back and lets the others do the hard work for them.
Whereas at least on an eLearning course, there might not be any interaction with a group, but you still have to interact with with the course itself. You have to do all the exercises by yourself.
6. Working away from home.
If the trainer is staying in a hotel, they like to have a bit of a drink on a night. They may stay up too late watching movies. Then arrive the next day feeling a little bit worse for wear. Trainers also have personal issues. They also get tired and get ill.
7. They sometimes they get bored of the training.
Teaching the same thing over and over again. So they might turn up and lack the enthusiasm. At least with an e learning course, it’s consistent. But it might be consistently bad.
And they usually are. But if you find a really good one that’s interactive and engaging and fun that has humour and personality, then it’s going to be consistently good every time.
8. Getting bums on seats.
Getting people together at the same time in one room for face to face training is hard. Different people from different shifts. With eLearning, they can dip in and out and log on whenever they have time or wish to do so.
eLearning can be so much easier.
So do you still believe that eLearning is better than face-to-face learning?